Central Italy includes the regions of Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, and Lazio, and is characterised by the hills and mountains of the Apennines, from which a few major rivers flow. There are few natural plains of any size in this region, but those that do exist are famously fertile. Over the years, a process of land reclamation has turned the coastal swamps and marshes into highly productive agricultural land, and provided space for the expansion of cities and towns. This is where you’ll find Florence, Pisa, Assisi, and Rome, destinations as noted for their art and archaeology as for their food and wine.
It is in this heartland of Italy that you’ll discover fresh artichokes, lentils, and chestnuts. The climate here is perfect for growing olives, leading to places like Trevi, known the world over for its olive oil. The sheep and cows that graze in the Apennines mean that this is where you’ll find unique products such as Pecorino cheese and Chianina beef, used in the famous Florentine steak. Sangiovese, Verdicchio, Trebbiano, and Frascati grape varieties flourish in the local vineyards, making it one of the most acclaimed regions in the world for wine.
Take a look at some of our favourite experiences in Central Italy:
Wander through UNESCO World Heritage Site Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis and the jewel of Umbria. Its historic centre is full of stunning monuments, such as the basilica with its impressive frescoes. After a guided tour, you have time to meander on your own and really get to know the city. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and explore the medieval houses and shops, then stay to enjoy lunch while soaking up the atmosphere.
Enjoy a special nature walk with Mario through the enchanting landscape of Monte Amiata, an ancient volcano in Tuscany. This idyllic area is incredibly diverse and abundant, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by chestnut trees, olive groves, and vineyards, and stumble upon surprising herbs growing in the old, volcanic soil. After you’ve worked up an appetite, settle in for lunch at your guide’s agriturismo, sampling fresh chestnuts and buristo dolce.
Get to know Gianfranco, a local olive oil producer and sommelier in Trevi. Delve into the world of olive oil as you hear about the art of olive cultivation, how to determine quality, and why good oil is so important. You’ll get to taste olive oil as well, understanding its diverse aromas and nuances.
Indulge in handmade pici pasta with a wild boar ragù as part of your experience in South Tuscany. After a cooking class with Edi, you’ll feast on this typical dish in Montepulciano, renowned for its wines, with added appreciation of the slightly chilled Rosso di Montepulciano DOC after visiting local wine producers. As the sun sets over the Val d’Orcia, your meal is complemented by the landscape and regional flavours you will have come to know so intimately.